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Smallholder Coffee Farmers Achieve Double Digit Revenue Growth Through Support from Walmart Foundation Grantees

Focus on sustainable farming practices and market connectivity led to a 17% increase in yield and a 17% rise in revenue for coffee for smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh.

Aysha Anam
World Coffee Day. (Photo Courtesy: Pexels)
World Coffee Day. (Photo Courtesy: Pexels)

As World Coffee Day approaches, Indian coffee farmers celebrate improved yield and rise in revenue by embracing state-of-the-art farming methodologies and technologies. Key collaborators Precision Development (PxD) and TechnoServe, with the support of Walmart Foundation, have empowered smallholder farmers and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) by harnessing the power of technology, data, adoption of substantial framing practices, and increased market access. While Precision Dev reaches out to 70,000 coffee farmers In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, TechnoServe has been engaged with over 10,000 farmers across 8 FPOs.  

An impact study conducted by Sambodhi, an India-based impact measurement firm, that assessed the efficacy of Walmart Foundation’s investments thus far in enhancing livelihoods and incomes for Indian FPOs, indicated that interventions by implementing partners contributed to strengthened systems and processes at the FPO level. This has led to higher revenues and profitability as well as increased representation of women at the farm level and in FPO leadership. The study highlights that participating FPOs have a higher ability to provide inputs, support the sale of final produce to more varied markets, and now earn 29% higher revenues on average than comparable FPOs. The Walmart Foundation works together with the implementing partners to strengthen the FPOs to build a sustainable coffee value chain. 

PxD with Walmart Foundation’s support in coffee-producing regions of Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh enables farmers to employ avant-grade techniques and sets high standards in coffee cultivation. PxD’s focus on digital agricultural advisory and market connectivity has facilitated increased yield and improved income for coffee farmers. Additionally, their guidance has resulted in reduced usage of pesticides. 

To address limited market access and fair value distribution for smallholder coffee farmers in Karnataka, PxD together with IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative) are working on a two-pronged strategy: engaging international coffee traders to include smallholders in their value chains and building institutional capacity with FPOs to target training programs that have benefitted over 5000 farmers and four FPOs. 

TechnoServe has been working toward improving the yield and income of coffee framers in Andhra Pradesh and has reached over 10,000 farmers across 500 villages in the state. Their training programs have helped farmers adopt more sustainable agricultural practices such as pruning and mulching. Furthermore, they have assisted farmers in establishing and amplifying their financial management and ensuring transparency.  

TechnoServe has supported FPOs working with coffee to set up their own post-harvest infrastructure such as wet mills, drying yards, hybrid dryers, and storage facilities. This has increased the capacity of FPOs to consistently sell larger volumes and better-quality coffee. They have worked with FPOs to educate growers about these quality parameters and assisted them in gaining market and financial access. The farmers under this program have reported 17% increase in yield and 17% better revenue from coffee. Considerable increase in the net price for their produce over the last couple of years contributed to this revenue growth.  

In partnership with TraceX, TechnoServe provides traceability to coffee farmers, enabling them to earn better prices for their produce. This collaboration ensures consistency in the quality of coffee produced, enhancing farmers' access to markets, and promoting sustainability in the segment. 

Julie Gehrki, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Foundation, said, "The Walmart Foundation is steadfast in its commitment to empowering smallholder farmers by supporting transformative digital innovation in local agricultural communities. On World Coffee Day, we celebrate the significant advancements achieved by coffee farmers in India, who have gained access to cutting-edge advisory services, training programs, and technologies. By adopting advanced techniques and market linkages, these farmers are revolutionizing coffee cultivation, resulting in remarkable improvements in sustainability, productivity, and income generation. Organizations like Precision Development, and TechnoServe are instrumental in driving this digital transformation, delivering tangible economic and social benefits, and ultimately strengthening local farming communities." 

Niriksha Shetty, Chief of Programs, Precision Development, said, "At Precision Development, we are immensely proud of our program which has only been made possible, thanks to the generous support of the Walmart Foundation. This program has been a game-changer to smallholder coffee farmers, providing invaluable, customized support to over 70,000 coffee and spice farmers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh who are now able to make better decisions for their crops in a timely manner. Together, we are nurturing coffee crops, empowering communities, and fostering a brighter future for farmers in India."  

 

Krishnan Hariharan, Senior Practice Leader, TechnoServe India & Project Director for the 'Sustainable Livelihoods for Smallholder Farmers' Program said, “These farming households are cultivating a high-value commodity in coffee. By coming together via the Farmer Producing Company, they can leverage the collective to ensure better prices and value for their coffee. Over the next two years, we aim to further the benefits of collectivization for coffee farmers in the region. We are working towards helping these FPOs become market players that promote a sustainable and gender-inclusive coffee value chain. And to become platforms through which farmers can foray into new market segments and grow alongside the coffee industry.” 

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